Salmon Kings' Season Ends with Game 4 Loss
Victoria, BC- In a Monday night matchup at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the Victoria Salmon Kings took on the Alaska Aces in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Western Conference Final. The Aces came into the game with the 3-0 series lead. Victoria started David Shantz in net while Alaska countered with Gerald Coleman.
The Salmon Kings applied pressure early on in the game as they controlled the puck for the first several minutes of the period. Just under the five minute mark Victoria forward Milan Gajic got the jump on Aces' defenseman Bryan Miller. Gajic burst towards the net off the left boards, but a good stick check by Miller broke up the play. Just before the 10 minute mark of the frame Alaska went on their first power play, but strong play by the penalty killers and some key stops from Shantz ended the man advantage. At 13:02 after a neutral zone turnover Aces' forward Dan Kissel streaked into the zone 4-on-4. Kissel released a quick wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Shantz over the glove to open the scoring. The marker was Kissel's second of the playoffs. Just over a minute later on an Aces' power play at 14:16 Alaska stretched their lead after Scott Howes found a puck in the crease and put it past Shantz. The goal was Howes sixth of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Victoria found themselves shorthanded for the last five minutes of the period, but Shantz made multiple stops to finish the period with 18 saves. Alaska took a 2-0 lead into the second.
Victoria started the second period strong as they locked the Aces in their zone, which resulted in their first goal at the 1:01 mark. Salmon Kings' defender Geoff Waugh corralled the puck at the right point. Waugh snapped a shot on net that deflected off the stick of forward Derek Couture and beat Coleman under the glove. The goal was Couture's first of the post season. Victoria continued to test Coleman as the period progressed as they threw pucks on net from every angle. Just over halfway through the period Victoria players Milan Gajic and Chad Painchaud broke in on a 2-on-0. From the right boards Gajic looked to feed Painchaud, but Aces' defenseman Daryl Boyle dove into the play to break up the pass. The Salmon Kings continued to control the period as they made the Alaska goaltender make multiple quality saves throughout the frame. The Aces held a 2-1 lead after two periods.
The Salmon Kings started the third frame on the man advantage and almost tied the game 30 seconds in. Rick Cleaver received the puck in the right corner and then fired a pass to Kiel McLeod alone in front of the net. McLeod quickly snapped the puck on net, but Coleman slid across to deny the shooter. Minute's later Aces player Howes found himself with the puck alone in front of Shantz. The shifty forward deked to his backhand, but Shantz extended his left leg to keep the puck out. Around the five minute mark Howes had an open net to the right of the goal, but Shantz extended his glove to grab the puck out of the air for the spectacular save. Only a minute later the Salmon Kings received a penalty shot after an Aces' player was called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease. On the penalty shot that ensued defenseman Ryan Turek went in and snapped a quick shot from the hash marks, but Coleman made the pad save to preserve the one goal lead. At the 9:43 mark Victoria rookie Chad Klassen broke down the left boards and then cut towards the net. Klassen backhanded the puck on net that sneaked between the right leg of Coleman and the left post to tie the game. The marker was Klassen's third of the playoffs. With four minutes left in regulation Ryan Turek caught Ethan Cox with his shoulder in the neutral zone for the big hit. In the last minute of play the Aces put together a strong shift that resulted in Howes alone in front of the net. Howes deked around Shantz and backhanded the puck into the net for the winning marker. Aces 3 Salmon Kings 2. Alaska wins the best-of-seven Western Conference Final 4-0.
Victoria went 0/4 0.0% on the power play, while Alaska was 1/6 16.6%. The Aces outshot the Salmon Kings 37-25.
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